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The Long Walk by Stephen King

The Long Walk (original 1979; edition 1979)

by Stephen King

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2,940711,956 (3.99)89
Title:The Long Walk
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Signet (1999), Edition: 1st, Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:dystopian, usa, maine, new hampshire, massachusetts, game show, contest, fascism, teenager, YA

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The Long Walk by Stephen King (1979)

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Richard Bachman is a pseudonym used by Stephen King for his early works.

Dystopian novels are very popular these days. When people talk about the Hunger Games, they say it's like Battle Royale. If they know a bit more about the Dystopian genre, it's only a matter of time before the talk comes to The Long Walk, which was written and published long before even Battle Royale.

100 boys start The Long Walk. It's not really clear why they start, there doesn't seem to be real pressure but the winner is promised whatever he wants. They have to run 4 miles/hour until there's only one boy standing. They get three warnings, after which they will be shot.

It was enjoyable story, but I could sense that this was Stephen King's earlier works, as I was missing some explanation as to why they take this run and everything. But that's just a minor point. I would recommend this to people who enjoyed said novels, or like Dystopian novels in general. ( )
  Floratina | Jan 4, 2015 |
It's pretty unbelievable that one can write about walking for a couple hundred pages. Leave it to the horror/ gross out master himself.

This is an older book, it doesn't flow as well as his newer ones, I can see the tactics he's using, and it really helps. ( )
  imaginationzombie | Sep 28, 2014 |
Walking. It's not so difficult. But for these 100 boys who have to keep at a pace of 4 miles an hour, endlessly, it becomes near torture.

This simple seeming premise was executed in such a chilling way because it just revolved around boys walking. No more, no less. But in the span of their time, we see a corrupt world, an eerie spectator game that involves death, casual shootings, and musings on what it means to dig deep.

There is not much plot, as mentioned, but still. This book was entirely captivating from beginning to end.
Each character is unique, but at the base of it all, there's only the last sounds of the gun.

I was biting my lips at the end of every chapter.
This is a horror story, but not in the typical monster-in-the-dark, scare-me type novel. It's a slow horror that creeps in after the hundredth mile. It builds up on you because you're starting to realize that you want all of these characters to survive, even the angry Barkovitch. The miles keep going, the descriptions of the pain and the fear and the numbness... you almost imagine you can feel it too.

The worst was watching McVries die. Especially because Garraty ignored their pact to try to get him to live. But the simple response, "No Ray, it's time to sit down."

That is just chilling. And heart-breaking.

I am not certain I appreciate the ending (especially as it seemed to end a little too abruptly), but this is definitely a book worth reading.

3.5 stars rounded up. Recommended for anyone who likes Stephen King. And for anyone who wants to read a bit of a dark book. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
Quite an interesting book. At first the story says absolutely nothing on what's about to happen, you only know that there are a bunch of guys who, for some reason, are taking part of what seems to be a competition. They start walking. You don't know where they're going, you don't know how much time it's going to last, you don't know the reason why they're doing this. You just know that they have to keep walking following a certain minimum speed. As the story goes, you get to know several of these participants (unfortunately or not, most of them are more like background characters rather than significant ones) and their motivations. Some of them are left behind. Then, the competition takes a different level. Despair and insanity takes over everyone's minds slowly as the walkers struggle to overcome the poor survival conditions and the sleep deprivation.

What I thought it was interesting about this book is how people exposed to a common goal may become emotionally attached even if they are rivals. During the few days that they get to know each other, some of them end up becoming real friends. I liked the way Stephen King explored these bonds without turning the story into something too boring or too sappy. On the other hand, it still seems that some aspects could have been explained more thoroughly, like the "official rules" of the Long Walk.

But it was a pretty good book. Don't be disheartened by the fact that all people do in this book is walk endlessly. There are actually a couple of interesting surprises during the story. ( )
  aryadeschain | Aug 26, 2014 |
This is one of Stephen Kings best. EVER. Written when he was quite young it is a raw and fast paced despite being a story that is about kids walking. Thats it. Walk and walk and dont stop. Dont fall below a certain speed or you'll get a warning. 3 warnings earns you a ticket and you are out of the game...and by that I mean you get your head blown off.

I cannot recommend this highly enough. It has all the hallmarks of classic Stephen King and perfectly illustrates a dystopian future that is entirely possible. It is dark and mesmerising and will leave you asking what just happened, what did I do, what did I participate in?? You will feel dirty for having watched this and let it happen without doing anything.

  areadingmachine | Aug 19, 2014 |
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
"Für mich war das ganze Universum leer, ohne Leben, ohne Sinn, ohne Willenskraft, ja, ohne Feindseligkeit; es war eine einzige, unermesslich große, todbringende Dampfmaschine, die in ihrer tödlichen Gleichgültigkeit vor sich herstampfte und mich Glied für Glied zermalmte. Ein ödes, düsteres, einsames Golgatha, eine Todesmühle! Warum waren die Lebenden, die dorthin verbannt waren, ohne Gefährten? Warum hatten sie ein Bewusstsein? Warum, wenn es keinen Teufel gibt - oder ist der Teufel etwa euer Gott?" - Thomas Carlyle
"Ich möchte jeden Amerikaner ermuntern, so oft wie möglich zu wandern. Es ist nicht nur gesund; es bringt auch Spaß." - John F. Kennedy (1962)
"Die Pumpe ist kaputt, weil die Vandalen den Schwengel mitgenommen haben." - Bob Dylan
This is for Jim Bishop and Burt Hatlen and Ted Holmes
First words
An old blue Ford pulled into the guarded parking lot that morning, looking like a small, tired dog after a hard run.
To me the Universe was all void of Life, or Purpose, of Volition, even of Hostility; it was one huge, dead, immeasurable Steam-engine, rolling on , in its dead indifference, to grind me limb from limb. O vast, gloomy, solitary Golgatha, and Mill of Death! Why was the Living banished thither companionless, conscious? Why, if there is no Devil; nay, unless the Devil is your God." - Thomas Carlyle
"I would encourage every American to walk as often as possible. It's more that healthy; it's fun" - John F. Kennedy (1962)
"THe pump don't work 'Cause the vandals took the handle." - Bob Dylan
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Book description
Every year, on the first of May, one hundred teenage boys meet for an event known throughout the country as "The Long Walk." Among this year's chosen crop is sixteen-year-old Ray Garraty. He knows the rules: that warnings are issued if you fall under speed, stumble, sit down. That after three warnings...you get your ticket. And what happens then serves as a chilling reminder that there can be only one winner in the Walk - the one that survives... (0-451-19671-6)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451196716, Mass Market Paperback)

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as ?The Long Walk.? If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as ?The Long Walk.? If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:57:21 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In a futuristic America ruled by ultraconservatives one hundred of the nation's hardiest boys must endure a five-hundred-mile marathon race in order to win fame and fortune

(summary from another edition)

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